Job Growth Flowing into Higher-Wage Industries Like Accounting

Gina Deveney
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The future of accounting jobs in the United States looks bright, thanks to this industry's high profitability. Recent figures show that accounting-related industries generate more profit per dollar of sales than any other sector in the United States.

Data collected by Sageworks, a company that provides financial information, shows that accounting-related industries had higher profit margins than other U.S. industries in the 12 months leading up to July 1, 2014. The average net profit margin for accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation and payroll services during this period was 19.8 percent, which is more than double the average net profit margin for private U.S. companies.

Even other highly profitable industries, such as legal services, which has a net profit margin of 17.8 percent, couldn't match the profitability of accounting services. Sageworks data reports that the next-highest profit margins were earned by companies providing commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental as well as those involved in oil and gas extraction, both of which carry an average profit margin of 16.4 percent.

According to Sageworks analyst Jenna Weaver, the accounting industry's high profit margins are largely due to low overheads. Accountants don't rely on expensive, heavy machinery to do their work, so setup and running costs for these firms are low compared to those in other industries, such as manufacturing. Demand for accountants is also consistently high.

That demand is leading to a boom in accounting jobs. Data shows that the greatest job growth in the accounting industry is located in areas of high economic growth, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Well-established centers of economic activity, such as New York and Boston, also have plenty of accounting jobs available.

In order to take advantage of this recent job growth, applicants need to have the right expertise. Many accounting jobs require specific qualifications and experience. The strongest demand in 2014 is for people who have experience in financial reporting, accounts payable and accounts receivable. According to Jenna Weaver from Sageworks, accountants who have greater expertise are also able to charge more for their work.

Many accountants set up their own businesses, sometimes from their own homes. The ability of accountants to keep their costs low when setting out gives this industry a strong advantage. For those accounting professionals who do not feel ready to go it alone, the large number of accounting jobs currently available presents an excellent opportunity to get a foot onto the career ladder.

The growth in higher-wage job opportunities, such as accounting jobs and jobs in the legal sector, is good news for professionals with relevant skills. If you have accounting qualifications and experience, then 2014 could be the year that you land a high-paying job in this field.

(Photo courtesy of adamr at


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